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Senior Correspondent

How to Find Your Great Contribution

How to Find Your Great Contribution


Every act of service enhances your worth. As time passes, if you’re fortunate, you’ll make meaningful contributions to growing numbers of individuals, organizations and communities. The more competent you become the more opportunities you have to serve.

5 sources of competence:

1. Natural talent and aptitude
2. Developed skill
3. Wisdom gleaned through relationships
4. Knowledge from school and books
5. Insight gained from success and failure

The first step toward your great contribution is reflecting on your frailty or lack, not your strength. How are you solving your need for meaning or fulfillment, for example?

Great competency emerges out of great struggle. The issue you’re solving is the answer someone else needs.

Marshall Goldsmith often shares the story of a college professor who showed him his arrogance. Watch Marshall’s videos and you see a humble spirit. His weakness became strength.

Find your great contribution by working through personal frailty.

Your great contribution is answering personal struggle.

I asked an aspiring leader how being mentored made him feel. He said, “It makes me feel like I’m worth something.” My second question, “What’s important to you about feeling like you’re worth something,” helped him see his journey.

At the end of our meeting, I asked if I might make a suggestion. “Reflect on the answers you need. Give others the solutions you find.”

Your journey has the answer. Pretending you’re something you’re not, blocks your great contribution.

Reflect on the journey. What issues are you solving? How is your story connected to your passion? What adversities have you overcome? How does your journey enhance your worth?

The more I learn about leaders, the more I see them answering their own need. Your great contribution emerges through frailty.

What blocks our great contribution? How might leaders maximize their contribution to individuals, organizations and communities?

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